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'Veteran' Mike gets lifetime award

Veteran Kentish Express journalist Mike Bennett has received a special Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his work in Ashford, Kent.

Mike has been writing for the Kent Messenger Group for 40 years starting as a cub reporter in the early 1960’s and holding almost every job on the news and sports desks since that time.

He has been on-the-spot to cover most of the the major incidents over the past four decades and still leads the news team at the paper. He is the former community editor, news and sports editor of the Kentish Express and is now its chief reporter.

Kentish Express editor Brian Lewis said: “I owe Mike a tremendous amount and I salute his local knowledge and dedication to building his own reputation as the county’s leading community reporter.

“Most of all I respect his decision to shun promotion so that he could stick to his main love – getting out there and producing the goods.”

Mike’s journalism frequently makes a difference to the community. His leadership of a publicity campaign to build a Pilgrims Hospice in Ashford raised £3.5m.

The judging panel at the annual Shepherd Neame awards was chaired by the Daily Telegraph’s Bill Deedes, who dubbed Mike “Mr Ashford” when making the presentation at a reception in the Faversham Brewery.

Another of the judges, TV’s Bob Holness said: “He produces a phenomenal output of community news stories every darned week.”

The column inches are filled by his long-running weekly Notebook diary, Memories pages and the Business pages as well as general news and the occasional sports report.

For more Shepheard Neame winners, click here.

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E-mail pastill@nepmidlands.co.uk